In web design and online marketing circles, we hear a lot about what social networking is, what it can be, and how it stacks up against other ways to reach customers like search engine optimization or online videos. When I hear these conversations, two things stand out: first, that none of these are truly even separate disciplines anymore – what you do on social media sites affects your search engine optimization, and vice versa, for example – and also that it misses the point a little bit.
It doesn’t matter what we, as marketers, think about social media. The fact is that customers everywhere love them, so they are going to be an increasingly-important part of our plans to reach them whether we want them to be or not.
At the time of this writing, Facebook alone boasts somewhere around 500 million members, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing up. Twitter is nearing 200 million, and LinkedIn is connecting more than 50 million professionals with one another. The more people continue to sign up and use social networking sites as a forum to meet one another and share ideas, the more we are going to have to use them as marketing mediums.
The bottom line with social media is that your customers and potential customers love it. That’s reason enough for all of us to keep paying attention to it. Contact Marcy Design, a Columbus Ohio Web Design company, to find out why so many businesses trust us with their social media marketing plans.
Recently, a new client asked an interesting question: for all the talk about search engine optimization (SEO), what makes it such an important part of a new web design?
Rather than go on and on about online profitability, increases in visits to their company’s pages, greater competitiveness, and other details, we decided to take a different track and answer his question with a question – why does it matter where a restaurant is located?
For most business owners, the answer is pretty obvious: because if you’re too far out of the way, no one is coming to eat. Yes, you need good food, a friendly staff, and to have a menu that seems like a good value, but those things only matter if there are people coming through the front door. Even the best eatery is going to go out of business if you have to drive hours from town through winding, unmarked roads to find it.
That’s about as good an answer as we could give you when it comes to SEO – without good, optimized content, it’s going to be hard for people to find your website. It won’t matter what you sell, how you price it, or who you’re trying to sell it to… none of that is important until you find a way to attract Internet traffic.
Effective search engine optimization is like taking your business, virtually speaking, from an empty side street to a bustling metropolis. Regardless of what you sell, it can help you bring many times more customers to your front door. In fact, it’s even better than a prime location, since it only brings you visitors who have indicated (by what they’ve put into the search engine) that they have an interest in what you are offering. In other words, it’s not just about getting more potential customers or clients, but better ones at the same time.
If that wasn’t enough of a reason for you to be interested in search engine documentation, consider this: it doesn’t only help new customers find you, but existing ones, too. To go back to our restaurant analogy, what if your favorite place to eat moved to new location? You might continue to go there if you knew the address, but you also might not – especially if there were dozens of other very similar restaurants you had to drive by to find where it had gone.
Knowing how important it is to bring visitors to your website, the key question might not be why it’s so important to have search engine optimization be a part of your new design, but rather whether any website could even be a good investment without SEO. After all, a business with no customers is sure to be a losing proposition, so doesn’t it make sense to do everything you can to keep the buyers showing up as often as possible?
What it really comes down to it, search engine optimization isn’t just about web design, it’s about marketing – and that’s something every business needs, online or off, to keep the cash register ringing.
Marcy Design can be your web design and search engine optimization partner. Why not give us a call today at 614-224-6226 and find out how we can get your site found?
1001 Ways, SEO
•on October 8th, 2008
In a report published by USA Today, there are almost 100% of Internet users who are utilizing search engines such as Google to look for a product or even buy one. That means that the market is definitely huge, and if you know how to play your cards right, you can actually have a good share in the market pie. Yet where are you in the Internet?
It’s not uncommon of online businesses to be lost among the millions of indexed pages, hardly ever appearing in search results. However, you know that these are the ones that don’t succeed and will eventually fold up. If you don’t want to be placed in such a situation later on, you may want to implement one of the most effective online marketing strategies: search engine optimization (SEO).
How SEO Can Help You
SEO is simply tweaking the pages of your website to make them appear friendlier to Google. For example, this mega search engine highly favors websites that are relevant to the key phrases commonly searched by Internet users. Thus, to obtain such favor, an SEO specialist will add meta tags that will include these keywords. He/she may also link your website to other related ones to further establish your relevancy and even your authority on the niche that you’ve chosen. Technically, SEO can help you rank better because of the inbound links that you’re going to get.
What Should You Do Then?
Improving your ranking in Google can be accomplished in two ways: paid and non-paid. Non-paid strategies include link development, content writing, off-page optimization, directory and article directory submission, as well as press release submission. They are considered non-paid, since they are completely free of charge.
They are also more preferred by Google for one good reason: if your website is not good enough, then nobody else would accept or even link to it. Moreover, the effects of these strategies are more long-term.
The only downside is that it will take months before you can actually see the results. Free submission to directories, for instance, will take 1 to even 6 months before your website can get approved. You may then need to pair your non-paid strategies with paid ones. It may cost you some, but definitely not a lot, and results are guaranteed to be really fast, as short as 24 hours.
Should You Do This Alone?
There’s no question about it, SEO can be handled by just one person—but can you? There are a lot of factors that would probably make you think twice. First, you have to take into consideration the fact that SEO is ever-changing, and keeping tabs on the new methodologies can sometimes be too exhausting. You can also have other responsibilities to take care of, more importantly, how you can better your products so they are worthy of your customer’s trust.
You may want then to work with an SEO company who can be your best partner in making sure that you can obtain a very good placement in Google.
1001 Ways, SEO
•on July 15th, 2008
As a marketing strategy, Search Engine Optimization is a great tool. Placement at or near the top in rankings increases the amount of traffic that will visit your site. It is important however not to rely too heavily on Search Engine Optimization, but rather have multiple sources for increasing traffic to your website. For example, the use of paid advertising and building a high quality website page can persuade consumers to visit your website as well. By creating a high quality website page you are also addressing technical issues that may keep your page from being crawled effectively.
Remember that the purpose is to attract traffic and persuade users that you have what they need despite the fact that you are competing against thousands of other websites. It is also important to use analytic programs in tandem with search engine optimization, so that you can measure the success and profitability of your page and make adjustments as necessary. You want to boost your conversion rate, which means turning a visitor into a customer. Visual imagery, well-written landing pages and other tools of the trade are effective towards this ultimate goal.
More search engine referrals do not guarantee more sales. While it’s true that SEO can generate a return on your financial investment, it is also true that this is non-paid organic search traffic and therefore you are not guaranteed future referrals. A business that relies too heavily upon SEO and doesn’t have other marketing tools can see results drop if search engines stop sending traffic to their site. They key to survival is to diversify your marketing strategy and not rely too heavily on any one tool. Observe and identify changes in trends and technological advances so you can adapt and revise your SEO plan and your business will thrive.
1001 Ways, SEO
•on July 8th, 2008
Google, Yahoo and Microsoft created search engines that use crawlers to find pages on websites for their search results. Some search engines such as Yahoo offer a paid submission service which guarantee crawling with a cost per click. Keep in mind this doesn’t guarantee ranking within the search results.
It is important to realize that not every page is indexed by search engines and the page distance from the root directory of a site can be a contributing factor in whether pages are crawled or not. You can instruct the crawler not to scan log-in specific pages such as shopping carts and user-specific content such as internal searches (this is often called search spam).
SEO is pretty much black and white. Or more specifically – ‘Black Hat’ versus ‘White Hat’. White Hat activities produce positive results that last for a long time; on the other hand Black Hat activities are banned either temporarily or permanently once the activity is discovered. White Hat conforms to search engine standards and involves no deception. White Hat is classified in many ways is similar to web development that promotes accessibility. Black Hat uses deception through the utilization of hidden text or employs bait & switch tactics that take you to different pages (this is also known as cloaking). Usually the page displayed is not the one that was requested.
The entire point of search engine optimization is to boost your company’s reputation and ranking through honest marketing and advertising and to make your business lucrative and profitable. It goes without saying that businesses that utilize deception to boost their rankings or to obtain traffic will be penalized by search engines for not being honest with consumers.
1001 Ways, SEO
•on July 7th, 2008
What is Search Engine Optimization and how can it help your business? Quite simply, Search Engine Optimization or SEO as it commonly known is the process of organizing your website to be ‘read’ by search engines in the most effective manner. The result, hopefully, means that the quantity and quality of traffic is vastly improved. The earlier a website appears in search result pages and the higher its ranking, the more traffic it will generate.
Search engines are the gatekeeper for users looking for specific information on the Internet. Search engines read the programming language of your website known as HTML or Hyper Text Markup Link. HTML is text-based information on a web page identifying all text as links, headings, paragraphs, lists and so on.
‘Spidering’ is a web-crawler program used by search engines that runs an automated script to browse the web in an automated and methodical manner. Search engines use spidering to obtain up-to-date data, although they can also be used to automate tasks on a website or index downloaded pages to increase the speed of searches. They also are used to check links and validate HTML code. This bot or program starts with a list of URLs to visit and then identifies all the hyperlinks on the page and adds them to the list of URLs to visit.
There are specific types of search that a user can employ: industry-specific, local and image. An ‘Industry-Specific’ search is based on the category of a company such as ‘plumbing’ or ‘dentist’. A ‘Local Search‘ allows users to geographically constrain searches against local businesses. And an ‘Image Search’ is specifically designed to find pictures, images, animation, etc. Your website should be optimized for these types of searches.
As a marketing strategy SEO analyzes how searches work and what people want. While this is a truly wonderful marketing tool, one must be aware that with every positive there is a negative. For example a “black hat seo”, while not too commonly known amongst Internet users is harmful to the effectiveness of your SEO. It uses spam-dexing, keyword stuffing and link farms which impede the search engine experience. You want to completely avoid sites that utilize these techniques.
1001 Ways, SEO
•on June 20th, 2008
Proper website design could mean a world of difference when it comes to how visitors see your business. Sites containing colorful, professional layouts get more respect than those with poorer website design. So, you definitely can’t ignore the presence of website design… even if you feel you don’t have the time to fully achieve it.
Of course, if you are really busy, there are alternatives you can consider for achieving the best website design. These alternatives involve using templates or hiring a website designer. In the sections below you will learn the pros and cons of each of these options.
Templates are the most affordable choice for website design. They are widely available off of the Internet often free-of-charge. Additionally, many of them aren’t bad in terms of their looks. However, if you decide to use a template for website design, you lose a bit of originality. Why? Well, with so many of them being available for free, it’s highly possible if not probable that your beloved template is already being used by hundreds if not thousands of others. And, if you’re concerned about branding, the last thing you want is for your website design to already be recognized on other Web pages.
There is also another disadvantage with templates. Sometimes the original designer may incorporate spyware code into the design. And, unless you know how to dispel such coding, you may be stuck with a site full of pop-ups and undesirable links. Of course, this is if you’re lucky. If you get a website template off of a wrong site, you might inadvertently download viruses which could harm your computer.
Hiring a Website Designer
Hiring a website designer is more expensive than getting a template, but it is the best option if you want a unique website free of annoyances. Just make sure that before you hire someone, you check out their portfolio and references. Don’t work with a person who doesn’t know website design like the back of their hand.
If you need help trying to determine which website designer you should use, check with business associates. See who they might recommend. A good Website design company can make a world of difference to your brand identity. The same cannot be said when you use a template, since templates don’t have the knowledge that good website designers have.
A big part of successful search engine marketing is search engine placement (where your web page fall in the search engine results). Keyword selection and placement is a major factor in on page. Search engine optimization and search engine marketing but whenever new businesses are trying to get their web page noticed and show up higher in the search engine results pages they often focus just on what there site looks like instead of also utilizing SEO strategies help get there web site to come up in the search engines. Here is one easy ways that you can improve your search engine placement results to increase your web page traffic and your sales.
Keyword selection is very important so choose carefully. Keywords are the driving force behind successful search engine marketing and search engine optimization. Your search engine ranking and ultimately how many people read your website depend on the keywords or key phrases that you choose. So pick carefully. When you’re trying to decide what keyword or key phrase to focus your search engine optimization on you should start with the most basic search term that a person would be likely to use when trying to find a web page about your product or service. So for example if you are selling refrigerator magnets on your website when it’s time to pick the keywords that you want to use for search engine marketing what are the first words that come into your mind? Did you think of words like “kitchen refrigerator magnets” or “funny refrigerator magnets” or even “cartoon refrigerator magnets”? Use those words as your primary keywords because chances are good that if those were the first words that you thought of in relation to your product those will be the first words that other people think of when they are searching for your product. When you are choosing keywords for your search engine marketing campaign always use more than one word. If you only have one keyword then you will get ranked very low on the search engine results page because the search engine spiders will have millions of webpage in their indexes that have that word somewhere in the page. The more specific you can make the keywords or key phrase the more likely it is that your search engine marketing and search engine optimization efforts will pay off and bring in customers that are looking for exactly the product that you are selling.
Make sure that you position your keywords carefully. Using your keywords spread through the page. I suggest using your main keyword phrase in your first and last paragraph of your content. And don’t forget to us them in the headings and in the hidden html meta tags on the page especially the “title tag”. It will make it more likely that the search engine spiders will rank your web page higher than other pages that might have some of the same content but don’t have those keywords or key phrases placed properly on the web page.
Search engine marketing is great because it delivers people who are actively searching for what you have. Unless you employ some search engine optimization strategies like keyword placement, your site may never be found by those who desperately need what you have.